By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
Brian Wallstin's article on the Cy-Fair year-round question [News, "The Year-Round Go-Round,"January 11] exposes Charlotte Lampe as a headline grabber who quotes inaccurate data and professes half-truths to push her position onto the public.
The article also quotes Ron Kennedy, president of the Cy-Fair school board, saying that the district does not fit the profile of the successful year-round schooling program, which he says is best suited to districts that are heavily bilingual. This statement has racial overtones and shows Kennedy's bias as an administrator.
Cy-Fair is not devoid of multiethnic needs, and year-round schooling with multiple shorter breaks has proven to accelerate learning for almost "all" the students as a result of retention and less remedial education after school breaks.
The boundary changes to accommodate overcrowding are a temporary fix that merely delay the inevitable tax increases resulting from the Lampe/Kennedy "agenda." The equal opportunity for year-round is further undermined by lack of bus transportation and reduced course selection for those who prefer that option.
Kennedy has gone on record that the new traditional calendar with dual track options will require no more schools than the 1994 year-round plan. The citizens of Cy-Fair need to determine if this is a commitment or just another political "snow job" that results in another tax increase to cover fiscal irresponsibility.
As a resident of the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, I found Brian Wallstin's article did not begin to tell the whole story of FOCUS and the 1994 bond election. While it is true that the proposition approving the issuance of $61.7 million in bonds and the switch to year-round education passed with 51 percent of the vote, the article does not mention that the proposition approving the issuance of $106.3 million in bonds to build more schools and maintain the agrarian calendar was rejected by 62 percent of the vote. That is a mandate, but one that FOCUS and its leader conveniently neglect to mention.
The current "solution" proposed by the district's Alternative Calendar Committee and adopted by the board is predicated on the passage of a bond election in 1998. Passage of another bond issue is extremely doubtful, given the current anti-tax sentiment in the community (highlighted by the failure of Cy-Fair citizens to authorize a tax increase to join the North Harris-Montgomery College District). If FOCUS and its supporters believe that the citizens of this district will vote to increase their bonded indebtedness for the sole purpose of maintaining a school calendar, they are whistling in the dark.
John Mahoney was certainly correct in saying, "If FOCUS ever told the truth about anything, it would be amazing." FOCUS' Open Records request is reported in the article to have sought the "names of parent and teacher volunteers who helped develop the year-round program." I have in front of me a copy of Charlotte Lampe's open records request. That request was for copies of the PTO presidents list (by school), the Volunteers in Public Schools steering committee list (by school), the Community Council on Education membership list and a breakdown of student enrollment by school per grade level. These are hardly the people who helped develop the year-round program. In fact, at the December 1994 Community Council meeting, Mrs. Lampe stated that she wanted this information for the purpose of "networking." This is, of course, typical of the lies and fabrications that FOCUS puts forth to advance their narrow agenda.
As one of the persons who sued the school district to block the release of this information, I find it interesting that I would fear any "overzealous anti-year-rounder" finding out who I am. Aside from the fact that civil suits are a matter of public record, this lawsuit received quite a bit of press in the Houston Chronicle, Westside and 1960 Sun newspapers, with my wife Marian's and my names prominently mentioned. In addition, I also spoke before the school board at the December 12, 1994 meeting, explaining in a public forum why we engaged in this lawsuit. Mrs. Lampe then says that I "called her not long ago" telling her "[She] didn't deserve to live."
The fact is that I have never called Mrs. Lampe and only spoken to her face to face on two occasions -- the first time being when she attempted to recruit me into her organization! If Mrs. Lampe has any evidence of her allegation, she should take it to the District Attorney's Office for action. In the meantime, she should busy herself working to improve the Cy-Fair school district instead of engaging in lies and obstructionist actions that act only to the detriment of our district.
Kudos to Kelley Blewster for reviewing two great vegetarian restaurants ["The Meatless of the Matter," Cafe, January 7]. As co-director of the Vegetarian Society of Houston, both establishments are well known to myself and friends, and we found the reviews excellent. It was noted in the article that "vegetarian" restaurants often offer meat to broaden their appeal. Houston has few purely vegetarian restaurants, but it does have many that offer vegetarian food, and the number is growing every day. I would request that future reviews of restaurants mention their vegetarian options, and challenge the Houston Press to include a vegetarian section in the restaurant caplet section.
Vegetarian Society of Houston